Today is the last day for City residents to register to vote in the August primary election. Aside from several important primary elections, voters in St. Louis will find a $155 million bond issue for the St. Louis Public Schools.
If voters approve, the money will be used to make SLPS buildings safer and healthier places for the kids, removing asbestos and lead; improving science labs, computer centers, and libraries; and constructing or rehabbing cafeterias and sports facilities. The money will not be used to fund SLPS operations or salaries because the Federal programs that will help underwrite the bonds preclude such expenses.
Special Administrative Board president Rick Sullivan and Supt. Kelvin Adams have worked hard to rebuild community and corporate support for the district's direction. he coalition supporting this proposition resembles the diverse group that recently saved Metro.
Their arguments in favor of a YES vote are persuasive: the need is clear; the plan is detailed; property taxes will not go up; and more than 3,000 people will be put to work on the project. (I hope, by the way, that SLPS will find a way to incorporate apprenticeship training programs for some of its students into the construction project.)
The condition of the SLPS is the most frequently given excuse for living someplace other than the City of St. Louis. (Firefighters used it most recently to convince outstate legislators to unconstitutionally overrule the City's residency requirement.) The incorporation of successful public charter schools and Dr. Adams reforms have pushed and pulled the SLPS in the right direction. Better, safer, and more modern facilities would do more of the same.
I urge City voters to study the issues and to support Prop S.